Sustainability Series: Carhartt
Whilst there’s a strong current trend for recycled fabrics and new innovative materials, Carhartt has remained dedicated to manufacturing hard wearing classic clothing and accessories which equate to a more traditional approach to sustainable design. Encouraging appreciation for quality craftsmanship, history and timelessness, each piece is able to last for years, can be passed down through generations and deserves to be held onto; naturally reducing waste and negative environmental impact.
Continually following their first slogan of ‘honest value for an honest dollar’ which was translated across workwear designed for manual labourers through refined, purposeful details such as metal hardware and specifically developed canvas fabrics, Carhartt was established in Michigan in 1889. Known for their commitment to making sturdy, high quality apparel which benefits their reputation but also throughout time aids the customer and environment. The company remains family owned which helps to maintain their authentic focus on high grade craftsmanship within each step of the manufacturing process.
This vision has been continued throughout the Carhartt WIP line which was introduced in 1994. Key heritage workwear pieces such as the Michigan Chore Coat and Detroit Jacket were quickly adopted within hip hop culture and streetwear due to the naturally warm fabrics and confident cuts which were often worn oversized and suited late night gatherings. The original silhouettes have changed very little over time and remain staple items for urban wear. Arriving for each new season, a selection of robust fabrics are enhanced by a variety of colour tones which update these core favourites and sit alongside more contemporary sportswear inspired designs. What remains across all of the brands sub categories such as the Chase Collection or American Script range is the same approach to construction and longevity. Whilst the WIP line captures the original Carhartt spirit it is geared towards casual wear as opposed to heavy duty workwear. New fabric innovations such as the incorporation of Cordura reflects purpose and expresses the versatility of each design whilst further proving its ability to last. Aware of the negative effect the application of protective treatments can have, 80% of trousers and shorts are ‘rinsed’ or ‘rigid’ which means they are left in their original state to lessen environmental impact whilst also encouraging personalisation through wear over time.
Launched for SS19, organic cotton updates present a more obvious approach to a sustainable future and awareness for Carhartt. With the majority of collections made from cotton, new styles use materials sourced through the Better Cotton Initiative - the largest sustainable cotton programme in the world - which highlights the strain and damage growing cotton can have upon the earth and presents positive alternatives. The benefits of using organic cotton in comparison to conventional cotton is widely known, from better worker health to crop renewability and improved comfort for the wearer. Look out for the tags on the latest Carhartt designs which highlight new updates, including many of their best loved OG fit styles which have a boxier, more oversized cut in comparison to the rest of the line. Reworked in a new 12oz 100% organic ‘Dearborn’ canvas which is equally robust and customised with an aging treatment that results in a rich hue finish, autumn/winter ‘19 styles such as the Carhartt OG Arctic Coat and Carhartt OG Chore Coat have both been consciously dyed to blue and fuchsia colourways, constructed with textural corduroy collars and polished metal hardware. The canvas has been rinsed and aged to capture the appearance of cherished pieces that have been well worn and enjoyed over time which makes the styles more relaxed and comfortable from first wear. Similarly, the OG Active Jacket presents subtle activewear influences combined with typical workwear focused construction by using the same recently introduced organic canvas with an additional quilted, insulating lining.
As well as improvements across Carhartt’s apparel, environmental awareness can be found at the core of brand within their headquarters, warehouse and logistics. Head offices are powered entirely by green energy thanks to approximately 10,000m² of roof space being covered by solar panels, ocean transport is favoured over air freight and packaging has been designed to be made from a material that is up to 77% recycled.
Alongside supporting the Better Cotton Initiative and monitoring manufacturing processes, the future of Carhartt is set to experiment with alternative fibres that are celebrated for their ability to be grown without damaging the landscape or negatively impacting workers whilst maintaining the same rugged characteristics. Confident in their place within fashion, streetwear and workwear apparel, Carhartt naturally exude longevity and timelessness within each of their collections thanks to their focused vision and rich history.
As part of Flatspot’s ongoing sustainability series, we’re taking a closer look at a selection of brands that are going the extra mile to ensure their pieces are in tune with current debates and demands surrounding environmental awareness. Additional organic styles and innovations are set to arrive from Carhartt with each new season.
Shop all Carhartt at Flatspot.